“Uninformed commentary” to portray false narrative: HRD Min

NEW DELHI, July 9: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Thursday said there has been an “uninformed commentary” on the exclusion of certain topics from the CBSE syllabus to portray a false narrative.
The comments by the minister came following a controversy over the reduction of syllabus by the CBSE due to the COVID-19 situation, with the Opposition alleging that chapters on India’s democracy and plurality are being “dropped” to propagate a particular ideology.
“There has been a lot of uninformed commentary on the exclusion of some topics from the CBSE syllabus. The problem with these comments is that they resort to sensationalism by connecting topics selectively to portray a false narrative.
“While it is easy to misconstrue exclusion of three to four topics like nationalism, local government, federalism, etc and build a concocted narrative, a wider perusal of different subjects will show that this exclusion is happening across subjects,” Nishank said in a series of tweets.
The minister reiterated that the exclusions from the syllabus are a one-time measure taken in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the CBSE has clarified, schools have been advised to follow the NCERT Alternate Academic Calendar, and all the topics mentioned have been covered under the same. The exclusions are merely a one-time measure for exams, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The only aim is to relax the stress on students by reducing the syllabus by 30 per cent. This exercise has been carried out following the advice and recommendations of various experts and considering the suggestions received from educationists through our Syllabus For Students 2020 campaign,” he said.
The minister also appealed that politics be left out of education.
“It is our humble request. Education is our sacred duty towards our children. Let us leave politics out of education and make our politics more educated,” Nishank said.
The HRD minister said the exclusions are not just limited to specific subjects as being portrayed but to all subjects.
“To give a few examples, the topics excluded in economics are measures of dispersion, balance of payments deficit, etc, topics excluded in physics are heat engine and refrigerator, heat transfer, convection and radiation among others.
“In Biology, portions of mineral nutrition, digestion and absorption have been excluded. It can be no one’s argument that these topics have also being excluded by malice or some grand design which only partisan minds can decipher,” he said.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had announced that it had rationalised the syllabus for Classes nine to 12 for the 2020-21 session by up to 30 per cent to make up for the academic loss caused due to COVID-19.
However, it was the decision to drop topics related to Social Sciences which drew sharp reaction from opposition parties like the Congress, Left, Trinamool Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena.
Universities and schools across the country are closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a classroom shutdown as a measure to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
A nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25. While the government has eased several restrictions, schools and colleges remain closed, though many are having online classes.
The HRD Ministry had announced in May that the syllabus will be reduced for the next academic session to reduce the burden on students due to learning disruption caused by the closure of schools because of COVID-19.
Concerns over course load were raised by parents, who put out online petitions on the issue.
The HRD Ministry maintained that the curriculum has been rationalised while retaining core elements. (PTI)